2020–2021 Safety Protocols

COVID-19 has impacted many things at Emory—from how we work to how we live, interact, and play. The pandemic has changed what we can do on campus together and how we educate our students at a top research university. But it hasn’t changed the Emory spirit.

It has neither changed our mission nor our values. It hasn’t altered our ability to achieve, transcend, and lead. With the continued spread of COVID-19, some of the important experiences and opportunities on campus will look different in the semester ahead, but we know our community is up to the challenge of keeping Emory safe.

COVID-19 Dashboard

The Emory COVID-19 dashboard is updated daily to keep our community informed about reported cases of COVID-19 among faculty, staff, and students on and off campus.

View the dashboard

Emory Community Compact

This year’s on-campus learning environment includes a new set of guidelines for how we will use campus space, conduct ourselves while on campus, and maintain a healthy environment for ourselves and those around us. The COVID-19 2020-2021 Emory Community Compact outlines behavioral expectations for students, faculty, and staff who are on campus this academic year.

Policies and Guidelines

Learn more about the policies and guidelines regarding notification and responsibilities in the event an employee, co-worker, or student has symptoms of or is exposed to COVID-19.

Healthy Behaviors 

Our priority is to protect the well-being of all members of our community and campus visitors. These simple steps will help to keep our community safe and healthy.

Self-Monitor Your Health

Each day you should confirm that you do not have signs/symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to campus. According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe symptoms, which may appear 2–14 days after exposure to the virus and include new or worsening:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell (without a stuffy nose)
  • Headache
  • Congestion or runny nose

NOTE: This list does not include all possible symptoms or less common symptoms that have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 symptoms.

Covid-19 Testing

COVID-19 testing will be required for all students coming to campus. This on-campus testing is a component of the student onboarding process.  

Learn about the new saliva-based testing

Students, faculty, and staff will also be tested if they become symptomatic (showing COVID-19 symptoms) or are determined to be a close contact of a COVID-19-positive individual.

Emory Healthcare nurse avatar

If You Are Sick or Test Positive for COVID-19

  • Atlanta campus students who are sick should follow guidance for COVID-19 on the Student Health Services website.
  • Oxford campus students who are sick should follow guidance on the Oxford Health Portal.
  • Faculty and staff who are sick should follow guidance for COVID-19 on the Human Resources website.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is an essential public health function during infectious disease epidemics that aims to identify persons who have come into close contact with an infected individual. Close contacts are quarantined and tested with the goal of reducing the chain of transmission of infections in a population. To enhance the health and safety of our community, Emory University has implemented a case investigation and contact tracing program to augment the work of the local and state public health departments. By returning to the on-campus Emory community, students, faculty, and staff are agreeing to cooperate with case investigators and tracers. Students will be tested if they are determined to have been in close contact with a COVID-19-positive individual.

Face Coverings

mask and words wearing is caring on magenta background

COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. Studies show that a significant percentage of individuals with COVID-19 are asymptomatic (lack symptoms) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

Anyone on the Emory campus is required to wear face coverings as an integral part of their business, personal, or uniform attire to ensure the safety and protection of all Emory constituents while on-site on an Emory University or affiliate property.

See face covering guidelines

Physical Distancing

illustration of Swoop mascot on magenta background with words one swoop apart

Physical distancing is mandatory. Guidelines for physical distancing include:

  • Staying at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people. Observe the 6 feet distance at all times unless your activity/job requires physical spacing closer than 6 feet;
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times in shared spaces;
  • Do not gather in groups;
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings; and
  • Observe all signage for directions, elevator use, and conference room capacity.

Cover Coughs and Sneezes 

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow;
  • Used tissues should be thrown in the trash, and hands should be washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol can be used; and
  • Emory will provide hand sanitizer stations at convenient locations.

Wash Hands

picture of hands being washed on magenta background with the words it just takes 20 seconds
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; 
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds throughout your time on campus, during a work shift, and before you leave to go home. Aim for washing your hands at least 10 times per day;
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry;
  • Emory will provide hand sanitizer stations at convenient locations; and
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

20-Second songs for washing your hands

Clean and Disinfect Personal Spaces

You are responsible for cleaning your personal areas (desks, doorknobs, phones, computer keyboards, etc.) in order to maintain a clean and safe environment for our community.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and personal items daily.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

The following cleaning supplies will be provided by Emory:

  • Wipes or disinfectant and paper towels; and
  • Hand sanitizer (sanitizer stations will be set up in work locations).

Cleaning and Sanitizing of Common Areas

Common areas will be cleaned and disinfected by Campus Services periodically throughout the day. This will include cleaning high-touch surfaces such as building entryways, elevator lobbies, break rooms, etc. Each night, classrooms, congregate areas, and restrooms will be sanitized.


For those working on campus this fall, learn how to handle such common daily scenarios as working in offices, parking and transportation, using elevators, and more.